T2: Trainspotting 

I’ve put off writing this review for a week now. And, to be honest, I still don’t want to write it.

Let me start this off by saying: I finally understand. All those people who groan every time another Disney or Pixar sequel comes out – I get it, I finally get it. What is the need for a sequel if it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger? If it doesn’t have any unanswered questions? If the audience is incredibly satisfied with the original film?

Well, money would be the answer, but I’m here to critique the movie, not the motives behind it.

So Trainspotting 2. T2. Danny Boyle is back with his iconic hit – along with all of the original cast which I found fantastic. It wouldn’t be Trainspotting without them so I’m glad they all returned to the story.

All the parts were there in order to make a beautiful film. However, I was left disappointed. When I came home, over a week ago now, my mother asked me, “So how was it?” sounding about as sceptical as I had felt. And I replied, “Very okay.”

I wish I felt the same as many of my peers because, the truth is, the majority of the audience enjoyed it. However, “not as much as the first one” they’re all quick to add.

And maybe that’s my problem. The first film is held on such a high pedestal that anything compared is utter nonsense. My friend told me that she loved T2 because it gave an update on the characters. It’s aim wasn’t to be better than the original – it was simply to show what happened. 

However, I feel it could’ve been done much better.

Trainspotting 2 felt like a tribute. Danny Boyle reused shots, editing techniques and threw in so many Easter eggs. It felt incredibly overdone. I mean, although the newly updated “Choose Life” speech was impressive and beautifully performed by McGregor, the way it was set up seemed forced and false. It was as if Boyle and John Hodge (screenwriter) had a checklist and were simply ticking off everything they needed to include. It stopped feeling like a film and simply became a tribute act.

I understand the film was about nostalgia. The use of old home footage made that obvious. I understand it was about old versus new. The use of mobile phone footage and CCTV cameras made that extremely apparent. I understand those who saw the original movie in the cinemas way back in 1996 will be taken back to their youth. My mother read the book and still remembers when it first came out. I understand how fantastic it must have felt to finally include the scene where it explains the film’s title. But to me it didn’t matter. If you’re going to make a sequel to Trainspotting you need to make it it’s own movie. Seeing the characters wasn’t nearly enough. 

Furthermore, I felt the acting from a few individuals dipped. At some points, I felt Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy) slipping into his usual character of Sherlock Holmes. I felt Spud’s (Ewen Bremner) expressions were completely exaggerated for the majority of the film, and although humorous, it was not needed. However, Robert Carlyle and Ewan McGregor will never fail to impress me.

But, side note, did anyone else find it unnerving when characters were referred to by their Sunday name? 

As my boyfriend pointed out, T2 offered no hope. In the first one, Renton’s character ended the film with the statement, “The truth is that I’m a bad person. But, that’s gonna change – I’m going to change.” However, Renton didn’t change. He still is a bad person. Although this may be an accurate representation of human nature, I felt deflated at the closing credits. Like my friend said earlier, she wanted an update on the characters but, when the update is disappointing, I would rather not have it at all.

However, don’t get me wrong. I found myself getting caught up in the action and enjoying myself around half an hour in. I found moments in the story to be endearing, certain scenes were incredibly hilarious and, I have to admit, it was nice to have the gang back together. I just believe it could have been much more iconic.

But maybe I’m just picky. I will still choose the original Trainspotting

Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour

Glitz, glamour, humour, talent (sometimes questionable) and the wow factor – Strictly has it all. 2017 marked the year of the tour’s tenth anniversary and it did not disappoint.

The show’s layout is identical to the television show so if you’re a super fan like myself and my mother then I cannot recommend it enough. There’s something mesmerising about seeing the dances in person rather than through the screen. Some may argue and say that for the money they paid they want to see new dances – not just the ones you can now watch on the BBC Strictly YouTube page – but each dance is improved for the tour. Each couple can have an ensemble of dancers plus a much larger playing field to dance on. Plus, hearing live music will always change the atmosphere instantly. Therefore it is still a breathtaking experience as you can witness the true Strictly magic first hand.

And, since I’m certain my boyfriend will not be reading this review, who wouldn’t want to see Danny Mac’s samba in the flesh?

I mean…

Wouldn’t you?

As usual, in true Strictly fashion, the costumes were stunning. I think the total number of sequins used is more than the population of Scotland. Plus the props, the lighting, hair and makeup were as perfect as ever.

Plus if you’re a “man’s man” and the thought of being dragged to see Strictly with your wife or girlfriend is turning you green then don’t worry! There’s fire effects!

All jokes aside, I have to congratulate Strictly for welcoming all ages, genders and sexualities into their audience. True, the vast majority of viewers are women – older women to be honest – but there is something to be admired in its popularity with such a wide range of individuals.

This year marks the sixth time my mother and I have witnessed the Strictly magic in the flesh and it is by far my favourite. I can’t tell if the production was bigger, or if I simply liked the contestants better, or the dancing in general was more moving, but the one thing I know for sure is that I will never ever forget Craig Revel Horwood performing Gangnam Style in a kilt.

I wish I had a photograph, I really do.

Speaking of photographs, may I take your time to complain about the use of mobile phones at live performances. (If you do not care for my rant, please skip past the next image or check out my review of La La Land here).

I understand that many viewers want to take a picture to remember the moment. I understand they want to be able to show their friends and family and make them feel varying degrees of jealousy. But, please, if you’re going to take pictures, turn off your flash? For one; it’s annoying, and for two; it’s just going to bounce off of everyone’s heads and make what you actually want to photograph stay in darkness. Trust me – I’m a millennial.

Furthermore, do not then sit and update your status on Facebook while the performance continues. I am certain you can wait until the show finishes – or even at the interval – where you can hashtag as many sayings as you want. Trust me – I’m a millennial.

Anyway, moving on.

Something that differentiated the 2017 tour was “Len’s favourite dances.” Just after the phone lines had closed (and 10p went to Children in Need) they played some clips from series past. This was a nice touch – especially from Len since it was his last time on Strictly. It definitely got a laugh from the crowd and fond smiles were brought to many faces.

Anita Rani hosted this year’s tour and she did a good job keeping the show flowing. To be honest, I didn’t warm to her when she was a contestant however I didn’t let this put me off. And, luckily, I found her quite endearing while hosting. 

Halfway through the first act, a strange thought popped into my head. Why does this entertain me? Why does a person moving their body this way and that tug at my heartstrings? Why does someone holding their voice at different pitches make a tear come to my eye? Why when put together do I feel a smile beam from my face? It’s the question I’m sure my boyfriend and father continuously ask as both my mother and I sit ignoring them on Saturday nights. But I can’t explain it. I’ve often said I’m born in the wrong era but I thank Strictly for bringing a beautiful form of art into my life.

And also Giovanni.

Thank you Strictly!

La La Land

I have to admit, when seeing the trailer, hearing the hype, witnessing the awards, my first impression of La La Land was, “How pretentious is this going to be?”

Seeing Damien Chazelle’s name slapped on the side also made me groan. I think I’m the only person alive who has ejected the Whiplash DVD prematurely. I know, call me a monster, but I couldn’t stand watching it. My friends would tell me in high pitched, breathless voices that “it’s the same director as Whiplash!” as if that would encourage me to go. 

My plan was to wait until the DVD of La La Land was under a tenner and then I’d consider buying it. Or, even better, wait until it comes to Netflix! But, while me and my boyfriend stood in freezing Edinburgh, our ghost tour not starting for another 4 hours, he convinced me to hide from the cold in a cinema.

The theatre was packed. So many shiny eyes glared at us as we entered; watching like hawks as we chose our seats. Few were left so we made our way closer to the screen than any regular cinema goer would normally travel. As we settle in, craning our necks back, I was ready to hate the Golden Globe triumph.

And then it started.

Vibrant colours, beautiful score, insane dancing, all in the first 5 minutes of the film. I’m a sucker for a good musical and the opening was incredibly promising. I felt myself relax and began to enjoy myself…

So I quickly snapped out of it and put my film critic hat back on.

Costumes were cute and quirky yes, setting was stunning, the cinematography was something to behold but the singing and dancing – in a musical, mind – was not perfect. I found myself scrutinising Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s every movements, facial expressions and delivery. Before seeing La La Land for myself I knew that the pair had won Best Actor and Actress. In the first half of the film I found myself questioning this decision. I found nothing to write about. Stone was quirky as ever, Gosling was his usual charming self, but I couldn’t believe they had won a Golden Globe for their performances.

And then…

Suddenly everything clicked into place. The message of the movie hit me in the face and the actors began to seriously act. The hurt in Stone’s eyes to the desperation of Gosling, the Golden Globe trophy began to make a little more sense. The cutesy, musical flash mob opening was forgotten as real life began to creep in. 

My mother read me a tweet from one of her favourite authors, Christopher Brookmyre, which said, “Saw La La Land. A musical that forgets it’s a musical after about 45 minutes. Shaping up to be the critics most over-rated film of 2017.” She sat smirking at me devilishly, knowing I would take the bait and bite. 

And bite I did.

Brookmyre, you missed the point! The reason the singing stops “after about 45 minutes” is because this is when characters begin to loose faith. La La Land isn’t about love, it isn’t even about music, it’s about dreamers. Those people who some will laugh at and say “they’ll never make it” or “they’re living in their own world” or even “they’re being unrealistic.” The people whose ideas control their lives, who never let real life get in the way of their goals, who want noting more than to achieve their dream. That’s the reason the musical forgets it’s a musical after about 45 minutes; the characters realise their dream is much harder to achieve than they originally thought. That’s why the musical opens with a large song and dance number; they’re going into the city with their dreams unshattered. And that’s why, Brookmyre, the song and dance numbers slowly disappear; because the city slowly crushes the dreamers dreams.

As someone who would label themselves a “dreamer” this film deeply touched me. I found myself weeping at Stone’s solo. I found myself looking over to my boyfriend in panic as I saw both Seb and Mia in both of us. I felt vulnerable as I found my heart breaking. I became what I had tried so desperately to avoid.

I became emotionally invested.

Suddenly it all made sense: the reason the actors aren’t the best singers or dancers is so I can relate more to them – it’s more realistic. The reason the film came across so artsy and pretentious- it’s to show how the dreamers think. The reason the colours are so vibrant, the cinematography so brilliant, the aesthetics so gorgeous- well, that’s Chazelle’s genius isn’t it?

And yes, I’ve fallen in love with Chazelle. Maybe I need to pop the Whiplash DVD back in and finish it this time. 

So, if like myself you hear the hype about this film and groan – don’t let it put you off. It’s the first film I’ve seen in 2017 and it’s ready to take the title of my favourite film of the year (and it’s still only January!) I would definitely recommend this film to any dancers, singers, artists, writers, filmmakers, basically anyone who has been told their dream is too far fetched. Anyone who has had an elderly couple frown at them and ask, “But what are you really going to do with your life?” It’s for all us dreamers.

Which is every single one of us, in one way or another.

Keep Dancing

You wouldn’t have known Robin Windsor had suffered from a back injury from the way he was dancing. 

I mean, wow, that man can move!

Keep Dancing, starring Robin Windsor, Anya Garnis and guest star Louis Smith, has been touring across the U.K. Director and choreographer Emma Rogers, along with her associate Innis Robertson King, created the stunning performance with help from Windsor along the way. The show is a cheeky, lively, fun-filled night with moments of serenity and beauty.

This tour has similarities to Anton Du Beke’s tours. Both don’t have stories like a musical would, but each dance has its own journey and emotion. There are also live singers who have the chance to perform solo, plus all the glitz and glamour you need from a frock.

They’re similar yet incredibly different. I’m a ballroom girl and that’s what Du Beke gives me. His show has almost no latin dances. He’s the King of Ballroom. He doesn’t need a jive or samba to capture your interest. His classic, traditional, Fred Astaire style is all I ask for and I’m given that every time.

However, Windsor’s show has more variety. I think almost every dance that appears on Strictly Come Dancing also appeared in Keep Dancing – and then some. Along with the traditional, there were also contemporary modern numbers thrown in. For someone younger like myself, I adored this change of pace, but I was uncertain how the older members of audience would feel. Regardless, I enjoyed the modern dances as it gave the show it’s own unique twist.

Am I saying it’s than Anton though? Of course not! Anton will always be my number one. However, that doesn’t mean Keep Dancing wasn’t good.

My favourite dance was definitely Windsor’s rumba with Garnis. I usually hate the rumba because it’s always so awkward to watch. It’s like I’ve walked in on a private moment and I’m nothing more than a peeping tom. However, Windsor changed my mind. The music intertwined with the choreography made the dance incredibly moving, beautiful and sweet.

Furthermore, the return of Louis Smith was a joyful throwback. Myself and my mother, with our Strictly Obsession Degree, both agreed he was stiff around the hips but I can’t blame him after taking time out to go to a little event called the Olymics. Nevertheless, I still dislike his man bun.

However, I do have a complaint – and not just for Windsor but for Strictly and any other shows like it. I beg you, please, please, please employ singers that can sing the songs you require them to. Especially if the performer has an old-fashioned kind of voice and you want to change the pace by inserting modern music. Someone who can sing like Judy Garland can hardly sing like Nicki Minaj. 

I’m not suggesting that these singers have no talent, but I felt their voices struggled to cope with the songs the show was throwing at them. During some numbers I thought they had a beautiful voice only to be sitting a moment later begging them to stop trying to hit the notes the tune required. Just because someone’s an alto, a soprano, and the original singer was too, it doesn’t mean they can sing the song beautifully.

But one woman who was flawless throughout, and deserves a massive shoutout, was Lisa-Marie Holmes. I would be happy to hear her on Strictly any Saturday night.

I was surprised that Windsor didn’t experiment with same sex dance couples. He voiced his passion for this change during his time on Strictly Come Dancing but the show has not made the daring move. I expected Windsor to showcase the possibilities in his show but there was only one number that was all-male. This dance was a contemporary, paso doble and the men were rarely in hold – and being in hold during the paso isn’t very close or long anyway. I was slightly disappointed but I understood that maybe this was a risk he wasn’t personally willing to take against the critics.

During this all-male dance, each male appeared onstage topless. It was easy to see each individual body shape so it was easy to tell that each dancer was incredibly different. Some had large muscles, some were quite lanky, some were small whereas others had a bit more padding around the waist, but regardless of how they looked one thing was very clear – they could all dance. This revelation is the one I remember the most about the show and will take away to my ordinary life. It doesn’t matter how you look or what society tells you, if you train hard enough, you’ll still be as good as the bloke with massive shoulders.

But, boy, does Robin have massive shoulders!

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet me at @freetheleaves 🙂 

I, Daniel Blake

As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I knew I wanted to see it. I was weeping at the few clips witnessed so I knew I wouldn’t exit the cinema dry eyed. I wasn’t the only one. However, I do think I was the only one who had to be asked if I was okay. I wasn’t.

I, Daniel Blake follows the story of, guess who, Daniel Blake, who is played by Dave Johns. An elderly gentleman, who has lost his wife and recently suffered from a heart attack, has been told he cannot work. His struggle with the welfare system and his relationship with a young mother (Hayley Squires) and her children (Briana Shann and Dylan McKiernan) carry the story. I found it a beautifully touching tale that shows the people behind benefits.

Combining Ken Loach’s direction and Paul Laverty’s script, this film is beautifully executed. I found the opening of the film very smart. The titles were able to roll, uninterrupted by visuals, as we heard dialogue between our main character and his interviewer. This made us really focus on what was being said. Furthermore, I find it incredibly inspiring that the viewer is able to know, understand and connect with the character before we even see him. I think this easily shows how experienced Ken Loach is.

The long, continuous shots present in many areas of the film make it seem incredibly realistic. There were also points – for example, the scene in the food bank – where moments seemed improvised. It felt like Loach looked for real food bank volunteers and simply asked to film. My boyfriend said he felt the same way when watching the scene of Daniel Blake writing the vandalised title I, Daniel Blake. He found the crowd’s reaction genuine. However, I don’t know if our hunches are correct as there are no clues on the web. 

There is a statement on IMDb which explains that Squires (the main female role) was not given the complete script at any point during filming. She was merely given snippets during the process. Therefore she never knew what would happen next since the film was completely shot in chronological order. I think this is an interesting angle to choose but I fail to see the purpose. It seems, to me, more of a disadvantage on her part than to help her acting. But don’t get me wrong, I found every acting performance spot on.

I personally found the entire film touching, hard hitting and heartbreaking. From Daniel Blake’s first line of dialogue, I knew he was perfect. Flawed, endearing, rebellious, he was an incredibly believable character. His age made his character humorous yet frustrating – but in a good way. The fact he cannot work modern technology shows the failures within the welfare system and the struggles older members of society face. I felt frustrated for the character during the process of the story so it seemed obvious to me that Laverty succeeded in his writing.

The same goes for Katie – the frustrated, caring, pushed to her limits, mother of two. Unlike Daniel, she has to put her children first and do unspeakable things in order to keep them healthy and happy. It was her struggles that were the most shocking to me as I feel any mother would do the same.

Overall, I feel the film shows both the good and the bad in the main characters, showing the stereotypes of those seeking benefits but also explaining why they act that way is what makes the film so rounded and fair.

However, just 10 minutes into the showing, my boyfriend whispers into my ear, “I don’t like this.” I sat puzzled at his statement since my heartstrings were continuously being pulled. What was not to like? 

After leaving the cinema, he told me he did not like the way the workers in the welfare system were represented. He told me that the mean, rude dementor of the workers were to benefit the film’s message and did not show that it was not their fault for the system failing. They had abuse thrown at them simply because they are the face of the company when they are not responsible for what happens to their clients.

I understood what he meant but I had to disagree. The workers were only to symbolise the bigger picture. Every film needs a villain, a force of evil, and, sadly for workers at the welfare system, that was them. I felt this bias was justified since Laverty included a nice worker into the mix. She did her best to help Daniel but was told to stop. I felt this showed the struggles these workers go through. They want to help these people but they’re told this isn’t company policy. 

Although I disagree with him, I do completely understand since, at times, it felt like charades were overly rude. Maybe I’ve simply been blessed with nice people all my life but I fail to believe every person Daniel Blake came into contact with made his life a misery and was swearing awful to him. 

However, I still found the opposing forces believeable and justifiable. 

So if you’re out and wanting to watch something at your local cinema, of course I would recommend this film. Don’t go in empty handed, though, cause you will need something to mop up those tears.

And if it inspires you to do some good or need some good done to you, check out the Trussell Trust here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/

And remember we are all citizens, nothing less and nothing more.

Thank you for reading! Let me know your opinion in the comments below or tweet me at @freetheleaves

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

It’s felt like years since I’ve seen a film that’s made me belly laugh. You know, the laugh that is uncontrollable, unrelentless, right from your boots? That’s what this movie made me do; belly laugh. Even when I wasn’t laughing the smile on my face didn’t budge. 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump. Sadly I didn’t realise this until the end credits – otherwise I would have read it in preparation. However, judging from the description on Amazon, I think the film does the book proud.

This piece of cinema is written, directed and co-produced by Taika Waititi – the man who also brought us What We Do In The Shadows and Boy. Not only does he write, direct and produce, but this man finds the time to act in his creations as well. As a student studying film I have to say;


I want to be you.

I find it totally admirable to be able to do all of that and still create a fantastic film. 

Speaking of the film, it follows the story of a “difficult” young boy, Ricky (Julian Dennison), who has been placed in foster care. After the threat of being moved to another family (or worse; juvey), he runs away into the Bush. The film revolves around his growing relationship with Hec (Sam Neill) and the obstacles they face together. 

This description doesn’t sound very humorous, but I can assure you, it is. 

Many reviews I have seen have referred to it as “an off-beat comedy.” This description is spot on since the jokes and laughs in Hunt for the Wilderpeople are completely different to what you seen in so many other “comedies” this year. It feels like so many recent films rely on random humour, or fart jokes, or cheap gimmicks, whereas this film has a thought-out script that can’t help but make you chuckle. It just flows. I’ve only seen one other Waititi film (What We Do In The Shadows) but his style of humour is seamless and natural – it’s never forced or over the top; it just works. This is a talent that is very rare and I hope Waititi continues to write for years to come.

But Waititi’s comedy-writing ability would be for nothing if it wasn’t performed flawlessly by the actors and actresses. Julian Dennison is a young actor with a blindingly bright future and I cannot wait to see where this film will take him. He has the ability to be funny yet incredibly touching and charming in the heart-felt scenes. 

And there are heart-felt scenes. This is what gives this film the edge over any other old comedy film. It’s funny, but that’s not all it is – that’s not what it’s based on. The journey that the characters embark on is incredibly heart warming. Watching them grow and bounce off one another adds another layer to his film that satisfies the viewer more than any other comedy this year.

However, maybe this film isn’t for everyone. Two young boys sat in front of me in the cinema with their parents. Just before the film finished, I caught one of the boys sigh heavily and look to the ceiling with despair. I tried not to think about it and instead enjoy the last few minutes I had with Ricky and Hec. When leaving, almost every couple, group and person was saying how much they enjoyed the film. “That was fantastic.” “Yeah, it was good.” “That was hilarious!” However, the young boy turned to his mother and said, “Well, that was terrible.” I found it hard to believe. Not everyone shares the same sense of humour, but I’m not sure if Waititi’s sense of humour is for this age group. Like I mentioned above, maybe this film isn’t random, farty or gimmicky enough for younger viewers.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t recommend you watch this film if you are a dedicated animal rights activist. Since this film is set in the wild, and the characters are living like, well, Wilderpeople, there is a lot of killing and eating of animals. So #triggerwarning. 

Overall, Hunt for the Wilderpeople improved my Friday night dramatically. Never before have I witnessed so many people laugh so heartily in the cinema. Within the first 5 minutes, everyone was already giggling like crazy. I feel as if I need to watch the opening sequence again since so many people were laughing I felt I couldn’t hear every word. That’s an experience I have never had before. So, I would urge as many people as possible to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople and get Waititi more well-known. 

This is also the second film I’ve reviewed and raved about that was directed by someone from New Zealand. 

What a talented country, eh?

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought of this film in comments below or tweet me at @freetheleaves. 


Many people hear the word “documentary” and begin to snore. I say this because I used to be one of those people. Why do I want to be bored with facts and real life when I can watch a fantastical fictional piece that defies all physics? 

Wrong, my friend. You definitely want to see Tickled.

When my boyfriend sent me a text asking if I wanted to see the documentary, I laughed and thought he was joking. No, he was deadly serious. I agreed to accompany him but I wasn’t overly excited. I thought I knew what it was about. A competitive tickling competition? It sounded like a comedy. While journeying to the Glasgow Film Theatre, I learned that it might have a darker side but I scoffed at the idea. I mean, it’s tickling, right?

Oh, I was so naive.

Five minutes in and I was hooked. My gummy bears lay on the floor of the cinema, forgotten, and I stared at the screen with an open mouth. It has been so long since a film has hooked me in the way this one did. It felt like a drug I needed more and more of. 

We’re first introduced to the New Zealand journalist David Farrier. He’s apparently known for looking at “the weird and wonderful” side of life. My first thought was he’s the New Zealand equivalent of a UK One Show reporter – those people that cover the strange stories that no one really needs to hear, but you enjoy hearing anyway. I instantly fell in love with the nerdy man and I settle in for, what I had assumed, a comedy experience.
I instantly knew that’s not the case when Farrier gets targeted and harassed for being gay.

The organiser for these tickling competitions sent the journalist email after email of hurtful homophobic hate. I was blown away and knew that this ride was definitely not going down the comedy route anymore. I was sat in my chair with my jaw on the floor.

I instantly had respect and admiration for Fassier and partner Dylan Reeve. They chose not to focus on the homophobic ramblings which I found very powerful. Many other people may have inserted an interview with Fassier making a speech about how this language was hurtful, how gay people have a hard time dealing with hate, how it is something he has struggled with his whole life and hearing it as an adult has shaken him. I have no doubt this is how he felt. But he never addressed this. The only thing he said was, “I found it amusing because the tickling competitions were so… Gay.” By not making a big song and dance about these horrible actions, both men easily showed how insufficient it is. Yeah they got hate, but who cares? We don’t, cause we know it’s rubbish. I was blown away by this take in the situation and, just 10 minutes in, was glued to my seat.

Although I said this documentary definitely isn’t a comedy, I did laugh during it. The cinema was utterly packed and all of us found ourselves laughing at one point or another. Whether this was because of humour or sheer awkwardness – I will never know. Farrier and Reeve definitely tried their hardest to interject some humour into the piece (which worked perfectly) but the humour couldn’t mask the true hideous truth underneath. 

This documentary focuses on the feitish world of tickling. It touches on topics of internet harassment, fraud, manipulation, and hate. Although it seems to cover only one area of the internet, it actually implies a much broader message. The boys shown to be tickled were all used and abused in one way or another. This behaviour isn’t just found in this one area; it is also found all over in the porn industry and other dodgey websites. It may only show the damage done to young boys but it’s easy to tell that it can happen to any trusting, desperate person. This realisation physically shook me to my core.

The real world is a scary place, isn’t it?

From a cinematic point of view, this film doesn’t disappoint either. The symbolism used throughout was beautifully poetic. A voiceover of Farrier talking about the state of production after lawyers threatening to sue followed by a shot of a nasty car crash was a nice touch. Another shot of a bird of prey flying away with its dead catch made me chuckle. Simply touches such as these truly add to the experience and show although Farrier and Reeve are new to the scene – they still know exactly what they’re doing.

It also must be said that at no point does this film shame anyone who has a tickling fetish. It is obvious that Farrier does not fully understand the appeal (his facial expressions don’t hide anything) but he tries to be as understanding and polite as possible throughout. His focus is purely on helping the victims of the tickling videos and finding out who is behind all the grief.

Overall this documentary is a definite must-see. It feels like forever since I’ve been to the cinema and left feeling utterly elated. Finding Dory appealed to my childhood and left me giddy, but Tickled touched me much more.

(No pun intended).